False animal test results & damages caused

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False animal test results & damages caused. For more general information on animal testing, see also main SourceWatch article animal testing.


Animal experiments have been cited in numerous court cases over drug damages claims. In legal trials of drug companies who have caused fatalities and injuries, the most effective defense has been that:

"All of the usual and required testing had been done to establish the safety of the drug in question."

However, this is a point which most legal authorities are not qualified to dispute. In fact, "experts" called upon to testify in such instances are invariably members drug companies and/or drug sponsored agencies. Ironically, vivisection has been used to both to defend that such disasters could not have been foreseen (due to adequate testing) and successfully defend and acquit drug companies. In the notorious Thalidomide case, a drug which caused serious birth defects in approximately 10,000 children, the manufacturers were acquitted after numerous experts agreed that animal tests could not be relied on for human medicine. [1], [2]

Physiology & inefficacy of animal models

Laboratory beagle

The idea that vivisection results translate to humans has been rejected as plainly ridiculous by some of history's most influential physicians.[3] The anatomy, physiology and psychology of animals is entirely different. Differences are further exaggerated in animals bred for and/or housed in laboratories. For example:

The LD 50 (Lethal Dose 50%) test, is the standard toxicity test for establishing the amount of chemical toxin is required to kill half of a number of animals. These animals are specifically bred to be exactly identical genetically and physically they are the same size and weight. Yet, the equivalent dose of a toxin in quantity and strength succeeds in killing only half of the animal group while leaving the rest to suffering varying degrees of disablement. Such results are subsequently and haphazardly translated to give a figure for safe and fatal levels for humans. There are 12 different methods which determine statistically the safety of chemicals for humans from animal testing and they may disagree up to a factor of four. It is accepted that animal tests can successfully identify carcinogenic agents on 37% of the time. So, in effect the test results are statistically inferior to a coin toss. According to Hans Ruesch's The Naked Empress or the Great Medical Fraud:

"Two grams of scopolamine kill a human being, but dogs and cats can stand hundred times higher dosages.
A single Aminata phalloides mushroom can wipe out a whole human family, but is health food for the rabbit, one of the favourite laboratory animals.
A porcupine can eat one lump without discomfort as much opium as a human addict smokes in two weeks, and wash it down with as much prussic acid to poison a regiment of soldiers.
The sheep can swallow enormous quantities of arsenic, once the murderer’s favourite poison.
Morphine, which calms and anaesthetises man, causes maniacal excitement in cats and mice.
On the other hand our sweet almond can kill foxes, our common parsley is poisonous to parrots, and our revered penicillin strikes another favorite laboratory animal dead – the guinea pig.’
It is fortunate for many that penicillin was never tested on guinea pigs at the outset where it would have immediately been discarded as dangerous. And if you want to prove that vitamin C is useless, withhold it from the diet of dogs – which produce vitamin C in the gut." [4]

Vivisection has been the main stay of medical and biological research since the early 1800's. Despite a legacy of statistical failure, misinformation, delays, suffering and waste, medical students must quote the results of animal experiments in order to pass exams and advance. According to Dr. James D. Gallagher, Director of Research of Lederle Laboratories:

"Animal studies are done for legal reasons and not for scientific reasons. The predictive value for such studies for man is meaningless – which means our research may be meaningless."[5]

See also animal testing, sections 1 & 2.

Drugs passed as safe by animal testing

Laboratory primate in restraint chair

The following lists a few of the thousands of drugs with side effects passed as safe for human consumption by animal testing, along with damages caused:

  • Eraldin (for heart disease) – Corneal damage including blindness.
  • Paracetamol (painkiller) – 1,500 people had to be hospitalized in Great Britain in 1971.
  • Orabilex – caused kidney damages with fatal outcome.
  • MEL/29 (anti-hypertensive) – caused cataracts.
  • Methaqualone (hypnotic) – caused severe psychic disturbances leading to at least 366 deaths, mainly through murder or suicide.
  • Thalidomide (tranquillizer) – caused 10,000 malformed children.
  • Isoproterenol (asthma) – caused 3,500 deaths in the sixties.
  • Stilboestrol (prostate cancer) – caused cancer in young women.
  • Trilergan (anti-allergic) – caused viral hepatitis.
  • Flamamil (rheumatism) – caused loss of consciousness.
  • Phenformin (diabetes) – caused 1,000 deaths annually until withdrawn.
  • Atromid S (cholesterol) – caused deaths from cancer, liver, gallbladder and intestinal disease.
  • Valium (tranquillizer) – addictive in moderate doses.
  • Preludin & Maxiton (diet pills) – caused serious damage to the heart and the nervous system.
  • Nembutal (insomnia) – caused insomnia.
  • Pronap & Plaxin (tranquillizer) – killed many babies.
  • Phenacetin (painkiller) – caused severe damages to kidneys and red blood corpuscles.
  • Amydopyrine (painkiller) – caused blood disease.
  • Marzine (nausea) – damaged children.
  • Reserpine (anti-hypertensive) – increased risks of cancer of the brain, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, skin and women’s breasts.
  • Methotrexate (leukemia) – caused intestinal hemorrhage, severe anemia and tumors.
  • Urethane (leukemia) – caused cancer of liver, lungs and bone marrow.
  • Mitotane (leukemia) – caused kidney damage.
  • Cyclophosphamide (cancer) – caused liver and lung damage.
  • Isoniazid (tuberculosis) – caused liver destruction.
  • Kanamycin (tuberculosis) – caused deafness and kidney destruction.
  • Chloromycetin (typhoid) – caused leukemia, cardiovascular collapse and death.
  • Phenolphthalein (laxative) – caused kidney damage, delirium and death.
  • Clioquinol (diarrhea) – caused blindness, paralysis and death.
  • DES (prevent miscarriage) – caused birth defects and cancer.
  • Debendox (nausea) – caused birth defects.
  • Accutane (acne) – caused deafness and kidney destruction. [6], [7], [8]

See also:

  • Does animal testing help human medicine? 33 facts to consider.[9]
  • 50 deadly consequences of lab animal experiments.[10]

Drug trials

The smoke-screen perpetuated by vivisectors that it is preferable to test drugs on animals rather than on humans and the emotive child vs. animal paradigm, is doubtless the most effective way to garner public support. However, all drugs are tested on humans immediately after the animal trials, sometimes without the patient’s knowledge or consent. [11]

See also Foster child drug trials.

Those that are informed of the trials, are reassured that these drugs have been tested on animals. However, 92% of all drugs tested on animals fail human trials. In 2004, the FDA reported that 92 out of every 100 drugs that successfully pass animal trials, subsequently fail human trials. [12], [13]

See also animal testing, section 3.

Rewriting medical history

Vivisectors often claim undue credit for advances in medicine and public health which have no relation to or were even impeded by animal testing, simply due to the fact that animal testing was used (often an unavoidable legal requirement.) Frequently, they will cite animal experiments without disclosing the pioneering previous non-animal discovery.

See also pharmaceutical industry, sections 4 & 5.

Vivisection PR & industry infiltration

The vivisection and related industries invest huge amounts of money in massive public relations organizations such as the U.K.'s Research Defense Society. They have also created considerable public confusion by infiltrating areas of the anti-vivisection (AV) movement. The following example was highlighted in Hans Ruesch's ground breaking vivisection industry expose, "The Slaughter of the Innocent":

"An interesting case was the Animal Protection league of Basel, Switzerland. Its president, Dr Rudolph Schenkel, professor of ethology, criticized the revival of antivivisectionist feeling in Switzerland. Thereafter, the establishment press could write that ’even the animal defenders disapprove of the antivivisectionists’ views.’ A closer look at Schenkel revealed that:
  • His league had received a donation of 200,000 Swiss francs (about $100,000) from Roche (Hoffmann-La Roche), ’for its animal shelter’ – with no questions asked.
  • His own wife was experimenting on animals in the endocrinology department of Ceiba-Geigy.
When my CIVIS organization brought about these facts, Schenkel dropped all pretense of being an animal protectionist: at the next convention of Swiss animal protection groups (SPCAs), he argued that:
"since laboratory animals are a product of human enterprise, we can do with them as we please." [14]

See also pharmaceutical industry, section 9 on pharmaceutical lobbies & front groups.

AV & the media: A self perpetuating industry

AV supporters are generally portrayed by the media as 'extremists' and demoted to being ’irrational’, ’oversensitive’, ’people-hating' and even 'terrorists’. They forgo their right even to express an opinion on the subject and are granted little more serious regard than laboratory animals themselves. AV supporters are made largely impotent in the mainstream political process as well. Medical practitioners, regardless of their personal views, risk being marginalized by a powerful vivisection establishment and an apathetic media which virtually never vets them.

See also animal testing, section 6.

The general public is all too willing to accept that vivisection is both humane and necessary. Views based on partial and/or fraudulent information, are a natural defense of one's own sanity in the face of waste, fraud, human and animal death and horrors. In this way, the vivisection industry has yet another advantage. Whereas AV supporters are engaged in a perpetual up hill struggle against wealth, medical propaganda and tradition, human apathy and fear can be added as well. A system which relies on the misleading results of vivisection, ensures that the true causes and cures for diseases are never revealed. The self-perpetuating, global drug industry is assured of massive funding in order to discover the:

a) Reason for the drug error (creating a need for more animal studies).

b) Additional drug therapy to treat the results of the initial drug error.

The state of global ill health is perpetuated and therefore, the need for the solution of more profitable pharmaceuticals. [15]

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Thalidomide case against Chemi Grunenthal, December 1970
  2. Ivan Fraser, Mark Beeston Vivisection: far more than an animal rights issue!, The Pharmaceutical Racket, accessed April 2010
  3. Hans Ruesch 1000 Doctors Against Vivisection, Preface, 1989, ISBN 3905280067
  4. Hans Ruesch,The Naked Empress or the Great Medical Fraud, June 1982, ISBN 0686402332
  5. Dr. James D. Gallagher Journal of the American Medical Association, March 14, 1964
  6. Roy Kupsinel, MD Vivisection: Science or Sham?, PRISM, 1990
  7. Hans Ruesch,The Naked Empress or the Great Medical Fraud, June 1982, ISBN 0686402332
  8. Ivan Fraser, Mark Beeston Vivisection: far more than an animal rights issue!, The Pharmaceutical Racket, accessed April 2010
  9. Does animal testing help human medicine? 33 facts to consider., Vivisection Information Network, accessed December 2010
  10. 50 Deadly Consequences of Lab Animal Experiments, Vivisection Information Network, accessed December 2010
  11. David Rothman Strangers at the Bedside: Social Institutions and Social Change, December 2003, ISBN 978-0202307251
  12. Harding, A. More compounds failing phase I. FDA chief warns that high drug attrition rate is pushing up the cost of drug development. The Scientist, August 6th 2004
  13. NHP Study: Evidence from Europeans for Medical Progress and Antidote-Europe, Safer Medicines Campaign, pg 1, accessed February 2009
  14. Hans Ruesch Slaughter of the innocent, Civitas Publications, 1983, ISBN 978-0961001605
  15. Ivan Fraser, Mark Beeston Vivisection: far more than an animal rights issue!, The Pharmaceutical Racket, accessed April 2010

External articles, resources & books

See also animal testing external links.